Trade Compliance

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Guidance for Importers with Stranded Hanjin Shipping Cargo

Posted September 06, 2016


Fallout from the collapse of South Korea’s cash-strapped Hanjin Shipping Co., the world’s seventh largest shipping line, after it filed for court receivership last week having lost the support of its banks and creditors, continues to roil global supply chains with many of its vessels being temporarily barred from docks at various ports or detained by terminal operators demanding “high lump sum” fees for their release.

At least three of the insolvent shipping line’s vessels are currently stranded on the North American West Coast – two in Los Angeles and one in Prince Rupert.  

A statement issued last week regarding the still unhandled “Hanjin Scarlet” anchored at Prince Rupert said the port authority together with terminal operator DP World and CN Rail “are in communication and are actively working to realize a resolution to the situation.” For its part, CN said it would not be charging for storage in this instance and would release all Hanjin import containers at its terminals, while the carrier’s export boxes wouldn’t be loaded onto trains and would no longer be accepted until further notice.

Anticipating that shipments already loaded on Hanjin ships are expected to face delays as a result of creditor actions and related logistics complications, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency issued a document outlining four different “processing scenarios” to help importers and CBP identify the correct procedures that should be followed in order to prevent disruptions.

In cases where a vessel arrives in port but due to work stoppage rests at anchor until freight can be discharged, CBP advises that:

  • the carrier must continue to provide advance notification to local CBP ports of the pending arrival (CBP Form 3171);
  • when a vessel arrives at a U.S. port (within CBP territory) and comes to rest, whether at anchor, dock, or harbor, carriers must notify local CBP vessel processing personnel;
  • after initial arrival, a change to the vessel’s arrival status should be considered (vessel unarrived) to avoid automated cargo release and general order issues;
  • the carrier and vessel agents should maintain close communication with the local CBP port vessel processing office to share information, updates, instructions, and port-specific guidance;
  • CBP will work with the carrier on a case-by-case basis so the actual arrival date and time at the first U.S. port closely reflect the actual date/time the vessel begins to unlade the cargo; and
  • CBP will take into consideration situations where cargo has been unladen but due to work stoppage cannot be moved from the dock. 

Guidance is also provided for other situations cover where vessels are: diverted to another U.S. port but not discharged; diverted to another U.S. port and discharged; diverted to another foreign port but not discharged; and diverted to another foreign port and discharged. Click here to read the complete document.